Sorry, all a lot of this may be repeat from the other thread...
*Breastfeeding has always been outright painful for me in the beginning. It did pass and was mainly occurring when baby latched on and would subside throughout the feeding. I know it was discussed at length before, but I believe it is a major disservice to women to tell them that it will not hurt b/c then they think something is majorly wrong and may feel hopeless and give up without seeking help.
*Which brings me to: seek help as soon as you encounter a problem- don't wait! Have phone numbers handy for LLL leaders, lactation consultants, and breast feeding hotlines (see LLL's website). Don't fall victim to bad advice- if it doesn't feel right get another opinion.
*Stand strong and trust in your body. Studies show that only about 3% of women truly cannot breastfeed (most often due to anatomical issues). Babies are born with reserves and do not need to eat much for days. Small amounts of colostrum will suffice. Milk usually comes in after a few days, but can take up to a week. Colostrum will suffice. You can drink some herbal teas to help with the process like Mother's Milk Tea and More Milk Two and supplement with some other things like fenugreek, but be careful of the opposite issue: engorgement!
*Read books ahead of time to get a good idea of what to expect, common problems (tongue tie, inverted/flat nipples, nursing strikes, improper latch, engorgement, etc.), how the breast works, what medications are safe to take while breastfeeding, FAQ's, etc. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers are both great. www.kellymom.com is an awesome online resource.
*A lot of women will have stories for you, telling you that they "couldn't breastfeed" or "had to wean" for one reason or another, "my 6 month old just stopped nursing" or "my supply dried up." These situations are usually a result of a lack of support and/or information. Don't be scared by this type of story, instead surround yourself with success stories. Hang out with other breastfeeding mothers to watch and ask questions. Go to a few LLL meetings while still pregnant.
*Have helpful supplies on hand: nipple cream/butter, soothies, breast pads, nursing bras, breastfeeding pillow, good electric pump. I recommend having a pump on hand just in case. They help with supply issues, emergencies, clogged ducts, engorgement, etc.
*Educate your partner as well so that if you have some issues s/he know what to do to support you. All to often partners watch mom struggling, crying, etc. and assume formula is the best answer for the moment. But even small amounts of unnecessary supplementation can really upset the delicate supply and demand cycle when it is being established. Make sure your partner know how to get help for you.
*Nurse on demand day and night. It doesn't matter if it's every 30 minutes or every 3 hours, follow baby's cues. Your body is designed to produce based on demand. The more baby sucks, the more milk you produce. Sudden increases in nursing are likely growth spurts and happen often every 3 weeks or so. Night nursing is especially crucial in the first 6-7 weeks when prolactin receptors are being built and your supply is being established. Bottle feeding at night- even for one feeding- during this time could cause a lot of stressful supply issues.
*Don't be discouraged if your newborn is nursing for 30-40 minutes at a time. It won't be this way forever. Babies get better and better at nursing so they will start to nurse for shorter periods.
*Some women leak a lot. Some women don't leak at all. Some women leak for the first few months only. Some leak their entire breastfeeding career. But usually the amount you leak will decrease over time. Pressing firmly, straight into the chest with your hand or fingers helps to stop the letdown and the leaking.
*In the beginning, the letdown can feel like getting an injection. For me this dissipated over time. Nursing can also cause contractions called "after pains" and these will lessen with time as well. I was also shocked the first time the milk came shooting out like little geysers when my baby unlatched. Nothing is wrong, just press firmly and it will stop.
*Nursing within the first hour of life really helps to establish the breastfeeding relationship (and expel a stubborn placenta). Advocate for your right to put your baby to the breast right away. If the baby needs a little encouragement, hand express a bit of colostrum by putting your index and middle fingers on either side of the nipple, pushing straight into the chest, squeezing the nipple slightly, and pulling the nipple straight out. You should see colostrum come out. Tickle baby's lips with your nipple.
*Nursing in public might feel awkward at first, but the more often you do it and surround yourself with other women that do it, the easier it gets. Just whip it out, it's your right. Read up on your state's laws so that you can inform anyone that might ask you to nurse somewhere else. Eventually you might find yourself a bit of a lactivist, proudly breastfeeding wherever, whenever, doing your part to educate the masses.
*There are other helpful uses for breastmilk besides feeding your baby like: rubbing on cuts and scrapes to disinfect them and help it heal quicker, dropping some in an infected ear, dropping some in an infection or clogged eye duct, squirting some up a congested nose, etc.
I think I'll wrap this novel up now and add more later if I come up with more...